ARC Review: House of Ash and Shadow (Gilded City #1) by Elsie Silver

Posted January 16, 2024 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 9 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review:  House of Ash and Shadow (Gilded City #1) by Elsie SilverHouse of Ash and Shadow by Elsie Silver
Series: Gilded City #1
Published by Bloom Books on September 26, 2023
Genres: YA Fantasy, YA Paranormal
Pages: 304
Source: the publisher
Format: ARC
My Rating: five-stars
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From USA Today bestselling author Leia Stone, House of Ash and Shadow is the first book in the addictive Gilded City series, about a girl who must battle curses, dark powers, and her own heart. This world of dazzling fae magic and romantic pining is perfect for fans of Wednesday and Holly Black.

Seventeen-year-old Fallon Bane was born with a devastating curse: a single touch from another person will cause her excruciating pain. Thus, she has accepted that she will die without ever being kissed, without even hugging her own father, though it breaks her heart every day.

But when her beloved father falls ill, she breaks into the magical Gilded City to find a healer fae that can save him. When handsome healer Ariyon Madden agrees to help, everything she knows about herself and her curse changes. Because during her father’s healing, Ariyon reaches out and touches her bare skin. She waits for the agony… but it never comes. For the first time in her life, she imagines a new future for herself. However, that fantasy is quickly destroyed, because not only does Ariyon flee from her in disgust when he learns of her curse; he also reveals her existence to powerful fae who want to hurt her.

Fallon is then swept away to a magical academy, where she learns the terrifying truth about her family history and her dark magic. Her life and the future of fae everywhere hang in the balance, and all the while Fallon can’t help but wonder if she will get to touch Ariyon Madden one more time before she dies…

This enchanting story of family, fae, and yearning is perfect for readers who love:

Romantic fantasy books for teens
Unputdownable & bingeworthy novels
Magical boarding schools
Grumpy sunshine romance
Holly Black and Sarah J. Maas

My Review

I didn’t know if I’d be able to fit this in, as it said it was a January release. But then I also saw that it came out last September? And another place it said not till April. But I picked it up to fit in and I am glad I did! It was good!

It hooked me from the start with the different classes of fae. Those with magic and those without. First of all Fallon’s curse is horrible. No one can touch her. And it’s not even just her skin, even if someone were to touch her hair it will cause her excruciating, debilitating pain. She was left as a baby in a basket with a note saying not to touch her, that she was cursed. And so at first no one would take her, until the man who became her father did. He soon learned the curse and not touching had to do with the pain it caused her, not that she hurt anyone else. But her life was hard because he soon realized he couldn’t touch her with bare skin. That means no hugging, nothing. The other kids at school didn’t believe it and would test it out, pulling her hair, touching her just to see what happened. So she had one friend really.

When her dad gets sick she decides to break into the Gilded City where the fae with magic live. She comes across a healer who comes back and heals her father. She also finds out he can touch her. But when she says that to him, he realizes who she is, and tells her to stay away. Turns out she comes from a dark fae family. One that had been completely sent away or was dead as far as everyone knew. They can’t kill her because the curse also says if anyone in the city kills her, then the heirs to the throne will die.

When they come to take her back to the city to put her in jail for her family’s sins, suddenly she finds powers she never knew she had as she fights to protect the few townspeople who are trying to protect her. So she is taken in to the city and charged with attending the school for all four years to learn to control her powers, in the hope that she will not turn dark like the rest of her family did. Her father is brought to live there with her and given a job. She is lucky enough that she met one girl the first night she snuck into the city named Eden that becomes a friend. And the healer who came to help her, Ariyon can’t seem to decide whether he likes her or hates her based on her family and how they affected his own family.

Other people on her side are the woman, Avis, whose apothecary shop she broke into the first night, as well as one of her instructors, who fought the queen to give her a chance at the school. She must live under her blood family’s name, even if she doesn’t want to claim the evil woman that was her mother. And soon there seems to be someone still there trying to cause issues and bring her mother back. Ariyon also has a brother named Ayden who becomes a friend, maybe boyfriend to Fallon. But to never be able to touch her, without bringing immediate pain comes between them in that aspect. And Fallon wants more, and Ariyon wants to be the one to give it to her. Even with knowing that his healing powers mean he will have a short life.

When things get really dangerous at the end, and Fallon has to choose to save him, things go wrong, and soon she must be the only one who can save him, even if she has no idea how she can do it.

I totally could see who might possibly be the one we should be keeping an eye on. There was even maybe a hint of a clue given right before the dance I think, that maybe solidified my inkling. Now, I just need the second book, and I think it is already available, since this one came out last year too? I don’t know, but I need to read more!

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9 responses to “ARC Review: House of Ash and Shadow (Gilded City #1) by Elsie Silver

    • Lisa Mandina

      I guess they actually came out last year or maybe before, and are getting a new publisher maybe? But I really liked it!

  1. Sounds like a good read. That sounds like a horrible curse to feel pain every time anyone touches her. All the different classes of fae and the magic sounds intriguing! I hope you can get the next book soon.

    • Lisa Mandina

      I actually found the sequel up on Edelweiss so downloaded that yesterday! Now to wait to fit it in to when it is published instead of reading it right away!

  2. Oh, I just want to beat down on all of those people who touched her just to see what would happen. GRRR! I’m glad you liked it so much and I hope the second one is out and you find time to read it soon.

    • Lisa Mandina

      Yes, you really feel for the character and it makes it so good! I already found the e-galley for the second one on Edelweiss, so can’t wait to start it!

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